Brock Lesnar announced, "I'm back!" Dana White told us to expect Lesnar to "be back the first of the year." According to a report from The MMA Corner, there's now a chance Lesnar doesn't return to the UFC at all.
However, multiple sources close to his camp tell a different story about the former champion's condition. According to the sources, more than one doctor has informed Lesnar that he should no longer compete in the sport due to the stress that training and fighting puts on his body.
Even with a planned return to the cage in early 2012, according to one of the sources, Lesnar might even be warming to the idea of retirement. Certainly, Lesnar must be weighing the toll that a continued career would have on his long-term health. For Lesnar, the question could be, "Is it worth it?"
A healthy sense of skepticism is appropriate. For starters, the story uses anonymous sources, which, while providing some value, must always be looked at critically.
[Update - 3:48 p.m. ET] This article was erroneously credited to Bleacher Report. It was actually written for The MMA Corner.
The other issue is the source itself. Bleacher Report has launched a campaign designed to clean up their (self-admittedly poor) image, though the extent of that has largely involved throwing money at respected internet journalists. The author, Rob Tatum, previously worked for MMA Die Hards, so this isn't the case of a 17-year-old kid posting rumors about Lesnar dropping out of UFC 116, either.
Regardless retirement talk's veracity, the report highlights the fragile nature of Lesnar's career. At 34, he is well past his athletic prime. And while he doesn't have the battle scars of Wanderlei Silva or Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, his career in the grueling domains of amateur and professional wrestling is well-documented. Coming down with multiple bouts of diverticulitis, including surgery to remove infected parts of the colon, only complicates matters, and it doesn't surprise me that a doctor would recommend an end to his fight career.
Lesnar first came down with the disease training for a UFC 106 title defense against Shane Carwin. That fight was rescheduled for UFC 116, where Lesnar survived a rough first round to submit Carwin with an arm triangle in the second. Lesnar would lose the title to Cain Velasquez in his next bout at UFC 121. He coached the Ultimate Fighter 13 opposite Junior dos Santos, with a bout scheduled between the two at UFC 131. In May, Lesnar announced that he was forced to pull out of the fight due to another round with the disease. Surgery, removing 12 inches of his colon, was performed on May 27.